2020 Rules and Regulations

Eligibility and Applications


  1. The Competition is open to pianists of all nationalities born between 26 July 1987 and 8 July 2002
  2. Admission will be limited to a maximum of thirty two (32) Competitors
  3. A reserve list of Competitors will be chosen
  4. A selection committee, including Artistic Director Piers Lane AO will be responsible for the choice of competitors from the applications received.


  1. Artistic Director Piers Lane AO will be non-voting Chairman of the Jury
  2. An international voting jury of nine will be assembled
  3. Members of the jury will be published on the website when announced



  1. Applications open Monday 30 July 2018
  2. Applications close Monday 2 December 2019 at 12.00pm AEDT
  3. A non-refundable application fee of USD $200 is payable
  4. Applications must be made online at www.sydneypianocompetition.com.au
  5. Applications will be checked by the Competition Office and formal notice of acceptance or rejection of the application will be sent via email by 3 February 2020
  6. Reserve competitors will be notified when the list of 32 successful applicants is announced
  7. The application fee must be paid online through Acceptd
  8. Once applications are submitted NO changes to repertoire can be made
  9. Incomplete applications will not be accepted
  10. The Competition Office reserves the right to request additional information as required
  11. All supporting documents must be uploaded and submitted at the time of final application
  12. Supporting documents will be used to promote the Competition and the selected 32 competitors in printed and electronic forms
  13. The applicant grants to the Competition the right to use any and all submitted documents free of any rights, fees or charges


  1. Late applications will be accepted up to Monday 16 December 2019 at 12.00pm AEDT
  2. A non-refundable late application fee of USD $275 is payable
  3. All rules 3d – 3m will apply to late applications


  1. All documents must be submitted online at the time of application
  2. Audition video(s) must meet the criteria listed below.
  3. Brief biography of no less than 150 words and no more than 500 words
  4. Copy of current passport clearly showing all personal details
  5. Current professional photographs. Must be 300dpi resolution. Colour versions only are required
  6. Documentation of musical studies
  7. At least one signed reference from an institution and/or teacher recommending the applicant to compete in the 2020 Competition. Reference(s) must include an email address and phone number to verify the reference if required
  8. Documentation of musical activity in the last five years. This may include participation in international piano competitions, awards, concert appearances, programs and reviews, upcoming engagements and any commercial recordings

Competition Details


a. All Rounds will be open to the general public, except for the preselection process 

b.The Preliminaries will consist of two Rounds: 

      The repertoire is Own Choice and should contain pieces by at least two composers. 
      The repertoire is Own Choice and should contain pieces by at least two composers. 
      Round 2 should contain different composers from Round 1. 
      An Australian piece, of any length or period, must be included in either Round 1 or Round 2 

c. Twelve competitors will be selected to advance to the Semi-finals.
d. The Semi-finals will consist of two Rounds: 

      The repertoire is Own Choice and should consist of two or more pieces. The recital should not be shorter than 60 minutes in length, but must not exceed 65 minutes. A short encore may be included if you feel it is appropriate, but the overall timing of the recital must still be 65 minutes or under including pauses between works. Any encores should be announced from the stage and need not be listed in your application. 
      Competitors should prepare a set of pieces (sonata + encore) from both Group 1 (Violin and Piano) AND ALSO Group 2 (Cello and Piano) which can be found here. Six semi-finalists will perform violin and piano works; six semi-finalists will perform cello and piano works. Semi-finalists will be informed which of their two Groups they will perform in the Semi-finals when the results of the Preliminaries are announced.  

e. Six competitors will be chosen to advance to the Finals.
f. The Finals will consist of two Rounds: 

      Competitors should choose one concerto for piano and strings, or pair of concertos where specified, from the prescribed list. The concertos will be performed with string orchestra. There will be no conductor. Competitors may direct from the keyboard if they wish, or the concert master of the orchestra will lead the performance. 
      Contestants should nominate four concertos, any of which they would be happy to perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under an internationally renowned conductor for the Finals. The 32 successful applicants will be advised which concerto they should prepare for the Competition when the pre-selection results are announced in March 2020. The concertos may range from Mozart to contemporary works, but they should be published, with orchestral parts readily available. The list should consist of concertos which applicants could offer managements for the season following the Competition. It may include more than one concerto by any composer. The four concertos should be listed in alphabetical order on the application form. The final choice will be made by the pre-selection jury in consultation with the Director of Artistic Planning of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Special consideration will be given to Reserve List Competitors replacing competitors who withdraw within three months of the opening of the Competition. 

g. The order of Competitors will be drawn at an event in early May 2020 and Competitors will be advised in advance of arrival in Sydney. Competitors will maintain the same playing order throughout the Competition, with the possible exception of the Finals Concertos. 

h. The order of appearance in the Finals will be at the discretion of the Artistic Director for rehearsal and programming considerations 

i. All works must be played from memory except for Round 2 of the Semi Finals 

j. Each solo program should be chosen as a recital, such as it would be presented for a public concert, whether it be 20 minutes, 30 minutes or 65 minutes long. Each programme should have its own logic and shape, chosen to highlight the competitor’s range and strengths, while demonstrating a developed understanding of program-building and communication with an audience. Intelligent programming will be considered during pre-selection of competitors 

k. No changes are permitted to repertoire after submission of the application 


a. Any applicant who knowingly gives inaccurate or misleading information will be disqualified 

b. Applicants who have competed previously in the Sydney International Piano Competition may not submit any piece performed publicly in that Competition 

c. Where repertoire is prescribed, applicants must choose from that list  

d. Recital repertoire should not include any works for prepared piano 

e. Overall timings in recital rounds must be adhered to. If competitors exceed the time limit for any round, they will be stopped and may be disqualified 

f. Repeats may be observed at the competitor’s discretion. Please consider timings when making such decisions 

g. The Australian piece in the Preliminaries should be published and may be of any period or length. Transcriptions may be included. The Australian Music Centre offers help online and works previously commissioned by the Competition are listed on the website. 

h. Semi-finalists may not repeat any piece played in the Preliminaries 

i. Competitors may be disqualified if they do not know both concertos from memory for the first rehearsal of each concerto 

j. A page turner will be provided for Round 2 of the Semi Finals 


a. Competitors must arrive in Sydney no later than Sunday 5 July 2020 

b. Competitors will be provided with a return economy airfare from their nearest international airport with an airline chosen by the Competition 

c. Competitors must complete all VISA paperwork and provide all supporting documents as directed by the Competition and the Department of Immigration no later than 4 May 2020 

d. Competitors must have a valid health and travel insurance policy of which documentation must be supplied no later than 4 May 2020 

e. Hotel or Home-stay accommodation will be provided and a daily living allowance for each overnight stay from Sunday 5 to Saturday 25 July inclusive 

f. Ground transport from accommodation to venue will be provided if not within walking distance 

g. If eliminated after any stage of the competition, accommodation and daily living allowances will become the sole responsibility of the eliminated competitor from that point 

h. All other travel, accommodation and living expenses are the sole responsibility of the Competitor  


a. Four piano makes will be used during the competition 

b. Competitors will perform on at least two and up to four different piano makes during the Preliminaries and Semi-finals of the Competition, the order of which will be determined through a public draw in May 2020.

c. Daily practice facilities will be provided for competitors with some possible limitations on duration  

d. Piano trials and rehearsals for every Round will be provided to competitors including rehearsal time with the chamber musicians and orchestras  


a.  Voting procedures will be published on this website. 


a. The Competitor grants to the Competition broadcast rights to film, photograph, record, broadcast, live stream, reproduce, transmit, play, show and/or televise as part of a film, online series/platform or television documentary for the purpose of promoting the current and future Competition(s), and/or the Arts in Sydney, Australia and Internationally 

b. The Competitor grants to the Competition and its commercial broadcast partners the rights to include any recital performance/s as selected or approved by the Artistic Director on any commercial CD recordings made or authorised by Sydney International Piano Competition 


a. Successful applicants will be required to agree to a separate Competitor’s Agreement no later than 4 weeks after notification of entry to the Competition 

b. The First Prize Winner will be bound under an exclusive Australian performance contract until 1 October 2022 

c. All prize monies are taxable under the Australian Taxation Office 

d. Competitors will be required to apply for an Australian Tax File Number and Australian Business Number with which the Competition will assist 


a. Any interpretation or disputes arising in any part will be read as the rules and conditions contained in English on the official website  

b. The Jury’s decision is final and binding 

c. There will be no appeal process and no correspondence will be entered into 

d. The law applicable to the Sydney International Piano Competition and contractual and other rights shall be the law of the State of New South Wales, Australia